Available on: PS3; Publisher: NIS America; Developer: NIS; Players: 1; Released: September 6, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official Site
Having never played a Disgaea game through, the latest game, Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten was somewhat of a venture for me. The series has long gained a reputation for sucking players’ lives dry with its demand for level grinding and notorious replay value. After so many years dabbling with the likes of the Super Robot Wars and SD Gundam G Generation series, it was about time I stepped up to the challenge of training prinnies in Disgaea 4. Though difficult, the game didn’t have me running, but constantly kept me going with its cute characters and multitude of ways to combat the netherworld’s challenges.
Available on: PS3, Xbox 360; Publisher: Majesco Games; Developer: WayForward; Players: 1; Released: September 6, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official Site
It’s always hard to envision an old franchise in new forms. With the recently released Deus Ex: Human Revolution, though the visual style and story had changed drastically, it was still a first person shooter with a heavy emphasis on RPG elements and seemed familiar to longtime fans. Some games go the other route; Bloodrayne: Betrayal takes the voluptuous vampire half-breed to the second dimension and trades in sex appeal for comic book-like visuals for an experience that proves neither cleavage nor top tier graphics are necessary.
Available on: PS3; Publisher: Boolat Games; Developer: Boolat Games; Players: 1; Released: August 30, 2011; ESRB: Everyone; Official Site
No puzzle game is like the other. Each one tries to do more than the hit before it so it can be the next big thing. Whether it’s the simplicity of Tetris or the social drive of Bejeweled Blitz, each game strives to stand out. The latest game, 4 Elements HD, isn’t necessarily simple nor does it have a strong social component, so what is going to keep you coming back to it? Instead of either, 4 Elements HD is filled to the brim with different obstacles, which makes for a game that is quite complex and will easily appeal to those in search of new challenges.
Available on: Mac, PC, PS3, Xbox 360; Publisher: Hothead Games; Developer: Hothead Games; Players: 1 – 2; Released: August 30, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official Site
The Baconing is the third game in the Deathspank series, the superhero trilogy from Hothead games, and it returns with some more of the action-RPG gameplay, wacky characters, and writing that fans have come to love. Despite being the third game already, The Baconing doesn’t became stale and is still a joy to play, provided that players can stomach its sometimes trying humor.
One of the least revolutionary genres of video games tends to be the racing genre. There isn’t much room for innovation from the gameplay/design aspect and the majority of changes rely on enhancements in cars. But Ubisoft has decided to break out of the mold and make a truly unique racing game with Driver: San Francisco. We’ve decided to give the demo a shot and see what we can expect before the full game is released.
Available on: PC, PS3, Xbox 360; Publisher: Square-Enix; Developer: Eidos Montreal; Players: 1; Released: August 23, 2011; ESRB: Mature; Official Site
Eleven years after the original game came out, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is ironically set 11 years before the original. With a different publisher, Square-Enix, that undoubtedly has more Japanese roots and is more reknown for their static, yet emotion driven stories, it was definitely an awkward combination with Deus Ex’s open-ended world that constantly changed with the player’s actions. Thankfully, the Japanese publisher’s signature gameplay and storytelling hasn’t interfered with the western philosophy of design and left gamers with everything they could expect of a sequel.
The Yakuza series has always been known for its brawling gameplay along with the inclusion of Japanese nightlife, including things as boring as working part-time jobs or as exotic as hostess clubs. Sequel to Yakuza 4, Ryu ga Gotoku of the End has Kamurocho infested by zombies, giving a slight change to the usual gang filled streets. When it was first shown to the public, this game definitely turned heads at the change of setting. Now that it’s out, we take a look at it and see how well the series has taken to the undead.
Available on: PS3; Publisher: NIS America; Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment; Players: 1; Released: August 2, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official Site
The world of Bleach has been translated into many different forms of games already. Its latest adventure is in the form of a hack and slasher, a genre it has not yet touched. It seems odd, considering how perfect the world of shinigami and arrancar fits. With its first entry being challenged by the likes of Sengoku Basara: SAMURAI HEROES and Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3, Bleach: Soul Resurrección has its work cut out for it.
Also on: PC, Xbox 360; Publisher: Digital Reality; Developer: Candygun Games; Players: 1 – 4; Released: July 19, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official Site
Trends will inevitably hit gaming and certain genres or themes will be exploited to the point where they are present in virtually every other release. Like in games and movies, zombies are now swarming a multitude of games, from Call of Duty: Black Ops to Ryu ga Gotoku Of the End (Yakuza of the End). The latest to try its hand at zombie bashing action is Dead Block, which fails with its weak game mechanics and will have a hard time keeping players’ attention when there are so many better options available.
Also on: PC, Xbox 360; Publisher: Playdead; Developer: Playdead; Players: 1; Released: July 19, 2011; ESRB: Teen; Official Site
Often times, video games are credited as the great escape that people need from the monotony of life and powerless nature of humanity. Words are barely enough to describe the sheer joy that players can feel from taking control of a mobile suit and mowing down thousands of enemies in Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 or embarking on an epic quest in Dungeon Siege III. Every once in a while, a game goes the other direction and limits players’ abilities to more realistic realms. Limbo does so in a drastic manner and yet keeps players compelled despite their roles as a boy who can only jump, push, and pull objects.